Iraq Unveils Plan to Revamp Science Infrastructure

According to a report from SciDev.Net, the Iraqi government plans to spend more than $9 billion over the next five years to rebuild its scientific research infrastructure and bolster science and technology education.

Ali Al-Adeeb, the country's minister of higher education and scientific research, said the plans involve establishing 12 universities and 28 research centres, and overhauling facilities in existing universities that have a scientific focus.

Abdul Salam AlJmas, director of research and development at the Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, told SciDev.Net that the new universities will be spread throughout the country, with some specialising in science, medicine, engineering and agriculture.

He added that the plan also includes allocating $70 million to train research and academic staff, such as sending them abroad for up to three months for education and training.

Iraqi professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, head of bioprocess engineering and director of the Cell Culture Engineering Research Centre at University College Dublin, tells SciDev.Net that "Iraqi public universities today are experiencing a crisis because of the shortage of highly trained faculty members and researchers: those that possess vast experience and have an international reputation".

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